HeismanPundit.com Poll (2006 Season)

Travis Normand
Originally posted during the 2006 season on my old blog
Re-posted on OnePointSafety.com – January 2, 2018

At the beginning of the 2006 season I was invited to participate in the weekly Heisman poll at HeismanPundit.com. I didn’t have a vote in the Heisman, but the poll sounded like a fun experiment so I accepted the invite. (Also, as a new college football blogger, the poll gave me something to write about; as I had nothing important to say and not much else to write about).

The idea was simple. Each week I would submit my top Heisman contenders as well as a short paragraph about why each one should win the Heisman, and why I ranked them the way I did. I remember forcing myself to write these paragraphs every week; a lot of times not having any clue what to write. Looking back over my “ballots” is hilarious, I mean, did I really want to vote for Brady Quinn?

You can see my original posts / ballots below, as I have reposted them here for the fun of it (and to archive them). It will also show you how bad I was at writing about college football back in 2007 (not that that has changed over the years).

Here we go … (wow, some of these are really terrible).

My last Heisman post: January 1, 2007

I would like to thank the “Heisman Pundit” (www.HeismanPundit.com) for asking me to participate in his www.CSTV.com Heisman Blog / Poll this season (2006)! I had a great time, and I look forward to doing it again in the future. Being asked to participate in his poll was a real honor.

If you haven’t seen the site www.HeismanPundit.com you should check it out. It is the best source of information on all-things Heisman. In my opinion, his coverage is better than any of the major media outlets. If you are a College Football Fan, and a fan of the Heisman Trophy, you need to check out www.HeismanPundit.com NOW!

My ninth and final Heisman post/ballot: November 25, 2006

My Final Heisman Ballot

1. Troy Smith – I don’t know if anything more needs to be said about Mr. Smith, as his amazing season has already spoken for him!

2. Darren McFadden – This guy just does it all. He has proved that he is a great “back” in the SEC, and is an amazing all-around player. If I were a coach, and could pick just one player to add to my team, I would be hard pressed to not pick Mr. McFadden, and for this reason he is in my Top 3.

3. Brady Quinn – Mr. Quinn is an excellent QB (which most have been saying all-along) and I believe he showed it on Saturday night against a very talented USC Defense. Did the Irish win the game? No. But Brady Quinn stepped up his game on the national stage and showed us all what he is capable of. If I could add just one player to my team, I would add Darren McFadden. But, if I had to pick a QB, Brady Quinn would be my next choice (after Troy Smith) and third pick overall.

My eight Heisman post/ballot: November 12, 2006

Getting Clearer (Heisman Poll): This list is finally down to only 4 players (from 10). One (or two) players might slip onto the list and take someone’s spot away before it is all said and done, but this is how I see it playing out from here on.

If 4 get an invite to NYC, these are the 4 that I would invite. It is a tough choice, as leaving people like Michael Hart from Michigan off of the list is almost un-fair.

1. Troy Smith – Sr. – QB – Ohio State: The stage is set as Troy Smith has one more game to go before he and his fellow Buckeyes “punch” their ticket to the national title game. If they find themselves on the winning side of the big game next weekend, Troy will be making sure his trip to the “Big Game” has a lay-over in New York, where he will surely win one of College Football’s most prestegious awards.

Last weekend Ohio State had a “scare” against Illinois, but hung on for the Win. I said that the game vs. the Illini would probably serve as a “wake-up call” for the buckeyes, and it did. The Buckeyes not only over came some cold weather, but also had to deal with not being able to fly into Chicago for the game with Northwestern. The team had to take a shorter flight and then take buses the rest of the way to the game, arriving at their hotel late that evening, and missing their pre-game walk through.

With all of the distractions, Troy Smith handled the Wildcats 54-10. He threw for 185 yards, 4 touchdowns, and was 12 of 19 attempts.

2. Chad Henne – QB – Jr. – Michigan: Like I said last week, it is looking like Henne will have to go to Columbus and personally deliver a loss to Troy Smith if he wants to win the Heisman, and his chance has finally arrived. The Wolverines will travel to Columbus in less than 6 days to take on No. 1 Ohio State.

If Henne and Company can take care of business, Henne will not only take away Ohio State’s National Title hopes, but Troy Smith’s Heisman hopes as well.

3. Brady Quinn – QB – Sr. – Notre Dame: Notre Dame has two games to go, and Quinn will need impressive outings in both in order to sneak in and take the Heisman. But, Quinn’s chances are not as far off as one might think. If Quinn and the Irish can really blow Army out, they will then travel to LA to take on a one loss USC team that is primed to go to the National Title game!

Yes, according to today’s BCS standings, USC is No. 3, and will be No. 1 or 2 after the Ohio State – Michigan game. If the Irish can beat the Trojans on the road, in front of a National TV audience, Quinn might make this Heisman race go from “clear cut” to “very muddy.”

Imagine this scenario, Ohio State loses to Michigan in a game where both QB’s are equally un-impressive. Quinn goes to LA and knocks USC out of the top two with an “career” game, while Florida loses the SEC title game! Not only would Heisman Voters be thinking about Brady Quinn, but Poll Voters would be thinking about Notre Dame for the National Title game (possibly setting up a Michigan – Notre Dame re-match)!

4. Darren McFadden – TB – So. – Arkansas: Darren McFadden is finally on everyone’s radar screen, but unfortunately it is probably too little, too late.

McFadden put on a show against Tennessee on Sat. night rushing for 181 yards, and toping 1200 for the season. He also ran for two scores against the Vols, pushing his 2006 total to 13 total touchdowns.

McFadden is only a Sophomore, and finishing the 2006 season strong (with a possible SEC title and BCS Bowl Berth) could really set the stage for an amazing 2007 Heisman Campaign. There is still a lot of football to be played in the 2006 season, but I think the best McFadden can hope for at this point would be an invite to New York this December (which he might get).

My seventh Heisman post/ballot: October 30, 2006

The Heisman after 9 Weeks of Games! If I had to vote today, here is how my ballot would look.

1. Troy Smith – Sr. – QB – Ohio State: Troy Smith is pretty un-stoppable (and so is Ohio State). Assuming Ohio State wins out; the most exciting aspect of this year’s Heisman race will be “who comes in second?”

2. Chad Henne – QB – Jr. – Michigan: Henne is going to need Ohio State to take a loss before he is able to jump into the #1 spot. It may even require him (and the rest of the Michigan Wolverines) going to Columbus and delivering the loss to the Buckeyes in person.

3. Michael Hart – RB – Jr. – Michigan: If Henne doesn’t jump to #1 (with a win over Ohio State) then Hart should. Some may ask, “What about Quinn?” While I think Quinn is amazing, his loss to the Wolverines should prevent him from winning the award over a Michigan player (as long as Notre Dame doesn’t lose another game, and Michigan stays undefeated).

4. Brady Quinn – QB – Sr. – Notre Dame: Another win over Navy and Mr. Quinn is still in the Top 5! The only problem with beating Navy is that, you are supposed to beat Navy. Beating Navy doesn’t really do much to help Brady Quinn, but it doesn’t hurt him either. It is just another week without much national attention (when he really needs all he can get).

If anything hurts him, it is Oregon State. Yes, the Beavers knocked USC off the list of undefeated teams, and that makes the Notre Dame vs. So. Cal. game that much less important. USC was going to be Notre Dame’s marquee game of the season, and a win over an undefeated Trojan team would have done a lot for Mr. Quinn’s Heisman Hopes.

5. Chris Leak – QB – Sr. – Florida: I still think Florida is the best One-Loss team in the country (especially with that one loss mostly due to a bad ref. call). Regardless, Florida is where they are because of the leadership of Chris Leak, and his development as a QB under Urban Meyer. If Florida had not lost to Auburn, I would be making a case for them as a top-3 team.

As it is, they are a top-10 team, and that just makes it a little harder for Mr. Leak to win the Heisman.

6. Ted Ginn Jr. – WR – Jr. – Ohio State: As seen this past weekend, Mr. Ginn Jr. can do it all. I know he sits at 6 now, but don’t let that get you down. Ginn is another player who could literally “shoot” to the top of this list after the showdown with Michigan in November. In fact, he is the ONE player who could pass Troy Smith for the #1 spot with a Buckeye victory.

7. Garrett Wolfe – RB – SR. – Univ. No. Illinois

8. James Davis – RB – Soph. – Clemson: Last week I said the Ga. Tech game was Mr. Davis’ “coming-out” party. Well, it might have been, but then he had a “going-in” party against Va. Tech!

I am not hanging the loss to VT on James’ sholders, but Clemson has to play like a Top 10 team every week if they want James Davis to have a “real” shot at ever winning the Heisman, and I am not sure that Clemson can do that over the course of an entire season.

Sure, Davis will get his yards, as he has shown how “explosive” he can be. But, as we all know, you have to get your yards, and your team has to keep winning.

9. Steve Slaton – RB – West Virginia: This week could be the biggest week of Steve Slaton’s career. Sure, bigger and better things are to come for Slaton (and all the Mountaineers) if they get a win at Louisville, but in order to get those things, Slaton needs a huge night in Kentucky.

If the Mountaineers blow Louisville out of their own stadium, and they do so courtesy of the amazing play of Steve Slaton…..then prepare yourself to see Mr. Slaton make a real run at the Top 5 of this list!

10. Calvin Johnson – WR – Ga. Tech: It could not be more clear that Clavin Johnson is the most important player on this year’s Ga. Tech football team. I don’t think that is enough to win him the Heisman, but it is enough to get him in the Top 10 of my list!

Still Hopeful:
– Kenny Irons – RB – Auburn
– DeSean Jackson – WR – Cal
– Patrick White – QB – Soph. – WVU
– Brian Brohm – QB – Jr. – Louisville
– Dwayne Jarrett – USC
– Ray Rice – Rutgers

My sixth Heisman post/ballot: October 8, 2006

The Week 6 Top 5!!
Before Week 6 – CSTV.com

Can you believe it, the season is officially half way over! At this stage of the game, this Heisman Top 10 list will now become a Top 5, as there are only a handful of guys who still have a chance at winning the award (although there are still one or two who might fall out/in to the top 5 with a late surge)!!

1. Troy Smith – Sr. – QB – Ohio State: If he keeps winning, Troy Smith will stay in the number one spot. His numbers are impressive, but it is getting late in the season and if Ohio State was going to lose a game, it should have done so already (in order to not hurt Smith’s chances).

2. Adrian Peterson – Jr. – RB – Oklahoma: Even though OU lost to Texas this past weekend, Peterson still managed to get 109 yards rushing and a touchdown. This is impressive considering the Sooners were over-matched and it was no secret they were going to rely heavily on the run. Going on the road (to a hostile, although neutral) rivalry environment, is never easy, but Peterson did his job.

3. Brady Quinn – QB – Sr. – Notre Dame: If the Irish Keep winning, Brady will definitely get an invite to New York. After all, with all the pre-season hype, dropping one game doesn’t knock you completely out.

4. Chad Henne – QB – Jr. – Michigan: I have said it once, and I will say it again. As long as the November Ohio State – Michigan game features two undefeated teams, both QBs from that contest are going to be strongly considered (especially the winner).

5. Chris Leak – QB – Sr. – Florida: Chris Leak is really coming on strong. I have to put him at number 5, as I really see his success as truly a team performance. This is nothing against Leak…after all, he is in my top 5.

Still Hopeful:
– Brian Brohm – QB – Jr. – Louisville
– Michael Hart – RB – Jr. – Michigan
– Garrett Wolfe – RB – SR – UNI
– Ted Ginn Jr. – Ohio State

Long Shots:
– Dwayne Jarrett – USC
– Calvin Johnson – Ga. Tech
– Steve Slaton – WVU
– Pat White – WVU
– Ray Rice – Rutgers

My fifth Heisman post/ballot: September 30, 2006

Heisman Ballot after Week 5!

1. Troy Smith – Sr. – QB – Ohio State: Mr. Smith has made it to October and is still number one on the list. Now he just has to show that he is mature enough (good enough) to “stay the course,” and not drop off (as his competition does).

2. Adrian Peterson – Jr. – RB – Oklahoma

3. Dwayne Jarrett – Jr. – WR – Southern California: Not playing this week could have really hurt his chances (considering he has played in one less game than everyone else on this list). He is still getting his numbers and has plenty of time to grow this season. USC’s close game with Washington State might just show the country how important Mr. Jarrett is to the Trojan’s success.

4. Brady Quinn – QB – Sr. – Notre Dame

5. Chris Leak – QB – Sr. – Florida

6. Brian Brohm – QB – Jr. – Louisville: When Brohm comes back from injury, he will have to “catch-fire” really fast, in order to stay in the hunt. I think he is actually out of the consideration, but could still get an invite to New York if the “Cards” stay undefeated.

7. Chad Henne – QB – Jr. – Michigan

8. Michael Hart – RB – Jr. – Michigan: Both Chad Henne and Michael Hart are still in this race. As long as Michigan stays undefeated, and as long as all the “poll-sters” keep moving the Wolverines up the rankings, then the Heisman might be decided on Nov. 18th in Columbus, OH.

9. Kenny Irons – RB – SR. – Auburn: Mr. Irons picked up 117 rushing yards and two touchdowns last Thursday night against a fired-up South Carolina team. Although this was a great performance, Mr. Irons will need to become more productive against smaller SEC teams (like So. Car.).

10. Garrett Wolfe – RB – SR – University of Northern Illinois: Okay, so I have finally pulled one man from the “tied” list and have moved him into 10th place (where he sits all by himself). There is plenty of time for Mr. Wolfe to keep making his case for why the Heisman should be his, and I just hope everyone is paying attention. It is one thing to not win the award, but it is another to just get “over-looked!”

11. Tied at 11th:
– Calvin Johnson – Ga. Tech
– Steve Slaton – WVU
– Pat White – WVU
– Paul Posluszny – Penn State
– Jeff Samardzija – Notre Dame
– Ted Ginn Jr. – Ohio State
– Ray Rice – Rutgers
– Javorskie Lane- Texas A&M
– Drew Tate – Iowa

As it stands right now, all of these players are awaiting their turn in the Top 10 of this poll. Ranking guys 1-10 is tough, especially considering that only the guy in the number one spot actually takes home the award. For this reason I keep the poll very fluid and in any given week you could possibly see one of these guys start to climb very very quickly!

My fourth Heisman post/ballot: September 25, 2006

Heisman Top 10 after week 4!
Go to CSTV.com for more!

1. Troy Smith – Sr. – QB – Ohio State: Troy’s performance against Penn State was good enough to keep him on top of this list. I am not saying that he was close to falling off, as he is definitely still holding a strong lead. However, the distance between Mr. Smith and all other Heisman hopefuls, is only getting bigger by the game!

2. Adrian Peterson – Jr. – RB – Oklahoma: 128 yards and 3 touchdowns! A lot of people thought that the Sooners would suffer a hang-over after all the Oregon replay mess, but the Sooners showed that they can move forward from the controversial loss and handle business as usual. Beating a Middle Tenn. State team 59-0 was probably just what the doctor ordered to keep this OU team on track for the rest of the season.

3. Dwayne Jarrett – Jr. – WR – Southern Cal.

4. Brady Quinn – QB – Sr. – Notre Dame: I think I would still have Quinn as high number four even if Notre Dame had lost to Michigan State. I know, I must be crazy, but remember, this award is not for Notre Dame, it is for the Best Player (i.e. possibly Brady Quinn). Although it is an entire team’s fault for losing, I don’t know if you would have been able to hang this one on Quinn (just like you can’t give him all the credit for the win either).

Either way, Quinn was 20 of 36 passing for 319 yards and 5 Touchdowns (while only tossing One INT).

5. Chris Leak – QB – Sr. – Florida

6. Brian Brohm – QB – Jr. – Louisville

7. Chad Henne – QB – Jr. – Michigan: I have to give a congrats to the entire Michigan team for waking up long enough to play tough with Wisconsin and win the game. A lot of teams will drop a game after such a huge win (last week over Notre Dame) but the Wolverines showed that, although not very flashy, they can go out and win games. At this rate, we might have two top five undefeated teams playing in late November at the Horseshoe.

8. Michael Hart – RB – Jr. – Michigan

9. Kenny Irons – RB – SR. – Auburn: Irons is going to have to pick up the pace if he wants to get back into this race.

10. Tied at 10th!
– Steve Slaton – WVU
– Pat White – WVU
– Paul Posluszny – Penn State
– Jeff Samardzija – Notre Dame
– Ted Ginn Jr. – Ohio State

As it stands right now, all of these players are awaiting their turn in the Top 9 of this poll. Ranking guys 1-10 is tough, especially considering that only the guy in the number one spot actually takes home the award. For this reason I keep the poll very fluid and in any given week you could possibly see one of these guys start to climb very very quickly!

My third Heisman post/ballot: September 18, 2006

Top 10 Heisman Poll after Week 3 of Play!
For more – See CSTV.com for the complete article!

1. Troy Smith – Sr. – QB – Ohio State: The Race is starting to look a little clearer and Ohio State’s Troy Smith is still “King of the Mountain!” If Troy Smith can lead Ohio State to an undefeated season, the trophy is almost surely his. I don’t see anyone else in the country that could rival Smith for the award, unless the Buckeyes are un-able to run the table. Remember, it is still early, and there is a lot of football left to be played (Michigan is starting to look better and better!)

2. Adrian Peterson – Jr. – RB – Oklahoma: If not for an awful call by the officials, OU would still be undefeated. Regardless Adrian Peterson is still the man in charge on this year’s Sooner Team. Peterson was able to rush for over 200 yards (and a TD) against Oregon.

3. Dwayne Jarrett – Jr. – WR – Southern California: With a slow start versus Arkansas on the road, Jarrett made quite a lot of noise in the Trojan’s second game against Nebraska. Jarrett grabbed 11 receptions for 136 yards, and two touchdowns. If he keeps this up, you will start to hear Mr. Jarrett’s name being called more often than not.

4. Kenny Irons – RB – SR. – Auburn: This is Mr. Irons’ second week in my Top 10 (because I was stupid and overlooked him after the first week). He really needs to be topping 100 yards a game to win the Heisman (in my opinion), but I am trying to look past the fact that he is playing against some of the toughest competition out there (SEC). No disrespect to Adrian Peterson, but if Kenny Irons was running in the Big 12 this year, he would have a lot more yards as well.

Again, we have a lot of games left to be played, and my list is more fluid than water, so his performance (vs. others) will be highly scrutinized over the next 9 weeks or so.

5. Brady Quinn – QB – Sr. – Notre Dame: I am not quite ready to write-off Mr. Quinn. Sure, Notre Dame did get hammered by Michigan, but this is an individual award (and not a team award). I am aware that being on a winning team does help (in fact, having more than one loss on the season will pretty much destroy your chances), but for now I am basing my votes on his statistical performance.

Against Michigan, Quinn threw for 234 yards and 6 touchdowns. He has also thrown for at least 230 yards in each of his first three games, and already has 767 yards on the season with 6 touchdowns (and 3 INTs). He will have to cut down on the interceptions if he wants to win the award, but all other categories I have listed are doing just fine.

6. Chris Leak – QB – Sr. – Florida: The win over Tennessee shows that this QB is starting to really “bring it home.” Winning on Rocky Top is never easy, and it deserves a lot of credit and recognition. However, as long as he continues to share any (however small) playing time with Tim Tebow, he is only hurting his chances.

7. Brian Brohm – QB – Jr. – Louisville: I am aware that he is out for the next 4-6 weeks, but he is a great player and would have a chance (however small) if the vote were taken today. I am leaving him in the Top 10 until we see what happens with the injury.

8. Chad Henne – QB – Jr. – Michigan: What? But didn’t Michigan just beat Notre Dame? Why is he listed behind Brady Quinn?

Well, first of all, this is an individual award and not a team award. If it were for a team, I might have moved him ahead of Quinn, but even so, Michigan still has to play Ohio State (as well as some other tough competition) and might come out with more losses than Notre Dame when it is all said an done. Regardless, it is an individual award and so comparing two teams in head-to-head competition is meaningless.

However, comparing player stats is not. Henne has only thrown for more than 200 yards once and it was against Notre Dame (220). He also threw 3 touchdowns and 1 INT against the Irish. It is impressive, but not better than Quinn. For the season, Henne has only 468 yards and 5 touchdowns (and only 1 INT), against a weaker (in my opinion) schedule than what Notre Dame has played.

Of course, I do understand that due to the weaker schedule, Mike Hart is getting the ball more (no need to pass), and that his TD to INT ratio is much better. I think it is still a little too early to worry about Mr. Henne sitting at number eight. He is a great QB who will move up the charts as long as he continues to take care of business.

9. Michael Hart – RB – Jr. – Michigan: It will be tough to find a way to move Mr. Hart above Adrian Peterson and Kenny Irons (much less above Chad Henne).

10. Tied at 10th!
– Steve Slaton – WVU
– Pat White – WVU
– Paul Posluszny – Penn State
– Jeff Samardzija – Notre Dame
– Ted Ginn Jr. – Ohio State

As it stands right now, all of these players are awaiting their turn in the Top 9 of this poll. Ranking guys 1-10 is tough, especially considering that only the guy in the number one spot actually takes home the award. For this reason I keep the poll very fluid and in any given week you could possibly see one of these guys start to climb very very quickly!

My second Heisman post/ballot: September 11, 2006

Week Two – Heisman Picks
For more on my picks, go to – CSTV.com!

1. Troy Smith – QB – Sr. – Ohio State: We are two weeks into the season and there is a lot more info to go on than just “hype.” I really hated bumping Brady Quinn out of the number one spot, but after this weekends performance, I would have to vote for Troy Smith (if the vote were today).

I am not saying that Brady Quinn did anything to get bumped, but I just think the current accomplishment of Troy Smith are a little better than that of Mr. Quinn. For starters, the two wins that Ohio State has are over a MAC Division winner (UNI), and another over the defending National Champion on the road!

Smith has also found ways to put up yards and points when his number one target is covered (Ginn), by finding another WR (Anthony Gonzalez) and successfully getting him the ball.

2. Brady Quinn – QB – Sr. – Notre Dame: Like I said, I hate dropping Brady Quinn to my number two spot after a very nice win over Penn State at Home. But, the reason for doing so is that Notre Dame having a close game with GT on the road, and then blowing out Penn State in South Bend, is just not as impressive as the schedule Troy Smith has had to deal with.

You could say that Quinn’s home game performance is more impressive than what Smith did to UNI (and I probably wouldn’t argue too much) but as of now, I think the difference are the road games. Sure, one could argue that Quinn didn’t have any warm-up games before GT (and that is a valid argument), but that doesn’t change the fact that the win in Atlanta is simply not as impressive as Ohio State’s win in Austin.

Keep in mind, this is only how I would vote if I had to do so today! There are still a lot of games to be played, and if Notre Dame is able to run the table (and if Ohio State can not) then Quinn should be able to jump right back to where he started atop the Heisman list!

3. Adrian Peterson – RB – Jr. – Oklahoma: OU’s game against Washington was not at all what Sooner fans have come to expect under Bob Stoops. Although, after last years mediocre t0 solid season, and then this past summer’s off-field issues, I would have to say OU is still doing the best they can (and that is 2-0).

As it stands right now, Peterson is carrying to load for this Sooner team, and as long as he continues to be the biggest reason for their success, I will probably keep him in my top three (even with a loss). Of course, this is contingent on Adrian getting his carries and yards, and not being the cause of any Sooner loss (fumble, etc).

4. Dwayne Jarrett – WR – Jr. – Souther California: USC is coming off a bye-week so it is hard to move or drop Dwayne Jarrett from his current position, especially after the Arkansas (road game) victory.

This next weeks game versus Nebraska has the potential to make or break Jarrett’s Heisman run. With the national stage set, everyone will get a chance to see if this WR is a legit contender, and just how much damage he can do against a revamped Cornhusker squad that is more than eager to get back in the “spot-light.”

5. Brian Brohm – QB – Jr. – Louisville: This one is easy, as Louisville is currently steamrolling their opponents, and Brian Brohm is the one behind the wheel.

I started the season saying that I thought he might be a long shot, but to clarify, he is the long-shot that is in my top 5. In fact, there are at least two guys ahead of him that could stumble at any minute, thus leaving the door-of-possibility wide open for Mr. Brohm.

Although he may not win the trophy, I would be shocked (at this point) if he didn’t at least get invited to New York.

6. Kenny Irons – RB – Sr. – Auburn: Kenny Irons is making his first appearance in the Top 10, and is jumping in all the way up at number six!! Auburn is getting a lot of yards per game, and most of them are coming courtesy of Irons (on the ground).

Irons will be one to watch as the season rolls on, as I expect him to stay on the top 10 list (and continue to climb) for most of the season.

7. Chris Leak – QB – Sr. – Florida: In all honesty, Chris Leak has been doing a decent job so far, and the Gators handled Southern Miss. and UCF better than most thought they would. But, Leak’s climb to number seven has more to do with the mediocre performances of the players that were ahead of him, than it does with his own outstanding play.

8. Chad Henne – QB – Jr. – Michigan: I said last week that Chad Henne could sneak up on some people (in the Heisman race) if Michigan were to go undefeated. While this is still a true statement, I have to say that Henne is further of a long-shot than I originally thought. At this point in time, Henne is on pace to beat several Michigan passing records, but will have to guide Michigan to an undefeated season in order to bring home the gold, regardless of where he stands in the Michigan record books.

9. Michael Hart – RB – Jr. – Michigan: I have not yet moved Hart above Henne in my top 10, but I am getting closer to doing so as we speak. With 262 yards so far this season, and three touchdowns, Hart is looking to have a sensational season running the ball.

10. Jeff Samardzija – WR – Sr. – Notre Dame: I have to leave Jeff Samardzija sitting here at number 9 and will refer to what I said last week, when I commented on how hard it will be for Jeff to win the award while playing on the same team as Brady Quinn.

11. Paul Posluszny – LB – Sr. Penn State: With the Penn State Defense giving up so many points and yards to Notre Dame, I think it is next to impossible for Paul Posluszny to win the Heisman (especially as long as Quinn is in the running). But, it is early in the season and I think Paul can have a good enough season to merit my Top 10 list to include an 11th Player (for now anyway). Afterall, Paul is in the Big 10 Conference, which also has 11 teams; so it just makes sense.

My first Heisman post: September 2, 2006

Top 10 Heisman Watch! Keep an eye on these 10 players as I believe they have the best chance at taking the Heisman home come December 2006.

1. Brady Quinn – QB – Sr. – Notre Dame: How many reasons do you need? Everyone has been saying how Quinn is the front-runner for the 2006 Heisman since the middle of the 2005 season. He has a lot going for him (besides the fact that he is a great QB). Playing at/for Notre Dame doesn’t hurt his chances one bit (if anything, it helps him, as no other school and players get as much TV exposure). The nation and voters are still pretty excited about Charlie Weis being the Head Coach of the Irish, and right now, it seems that the Irish can do no wrong. We all know that you need to win games in order to win the Heisman, and an undefeated season, with a great pre-season hype campaign, will usually lead to a nice trophy come December. (Of course, Quinn’s Heisman campaign could be over before it starts. Notre Dame is going to have to survive a tough Sept. schedule. If they can get through Sept. without a loss, you will see the Heisman steam train really pick up speed).

The GT win was not that impressive and has left a lot of people already second guessing the QB. But, if the Irish can put together a string of impressive wins, the “close call” against GT will soon be a distant memory.

2. Troy Smith – QB – Sr. – Ohio State: This is a pretty rough spot to be in. Last season Ohio State dropped only two games. One to eventual un-defeated National Champs (Univ. of Texas) and the second to the Big Ten Conference Champs (Penn State). This is one loss less than Notre Dame had. Notre Dame had three losses (Michigan State, USC, and …..yep…OHIO STATE!).

It will be a tough pill for Troy Smith to swallow, if he has to sit in New York and watch Brady Quinn give his acceptance speech, knowing how well his Ohio State team beat Quinn’s Notre Dame’s team in the 2006 Fiesta Bowl. Granted, you could blame the loss on Notre Dame’s Defense or Secondary, and not Brady Quinn, but it was Smith who was torching that Secondary.

Imagine this scenario, Smith and Quinn waiting for the announcement of the winner in New York, after listening to Chris Fowler talk for the past hour about how great it will be when in less than a month we watch both un-defeated Notre Dame and un-defeated Ohio State meet for the second straight year in a bowl game, only this time for the BCS National Title. The possibility is not that far off.

As for stats, Smith has all he already needs, and should add to them this 2006 season. Last year he threw for 2282 yards and only 4 interceptions (237 attempts). That statistic alone is almost impressive enough!

3. Adrian Peterson – RB – Jr. – Oklahoma: If Peterson finds himself in New York with the two candidates listed above, I have a feeling the votes will go to the Seniors. But, if Notre Dame takes an early AND late loss, and if Ohio State gets bumped again when they travel to Austin, Texas early in the season, the door is suddenly wide open for Peterson to finally claim what he has been trying to since he was a freshman.

With Bomar out, all eyes will be on Peterson to see if he can carry OU to a “decent” season. If he carries the load by himself and gets the job done, you might see him win the award even with his team taking a few losses. On the other hand, if OU takes an early loss, like the 2005 home loss to TCU, and then takes another loss in Dallas against Defending National Champ Texas, you will quickly see Peterson, and the entire OU team, become a distant afterthought.

4. Dwayne Jarrett – WR – Jr. Souther California: With Bush and Leinart gone to the NFL, the door at USC is left wide open for people to finally pay more attention to Dwayne Jarrett. Most of the pre-season attention has gone to the QB situation, but which ever QB ends up running the SC offense, you can bet Jarrett will be on the end of most of his passes.

Jarrett is a sensational player that unfortunately had to play in the “shadow” of two Heisman winners. It is pretty hard to get noticed on a team like that, no matter how hard you play. If USC and Notre Dame meet up again in 2006 on the same size of stage (National Title Implications) as they played on in 2005, you can bet everyone will be talking about last years 4th down conversion pass that was caught by Jarrett (and for the most part, saved the game for SC). Coming up huge in that game could do for Jarrett what it did for Palmer back in 2002.

5. Brian Brohm – QB – Jr. – Louisville: I really consider Brohm a long shot to win the Heisman, as even if Louisville runs the table and goes undefeated, they are not guaranteed a bid to the National Title game. Why? Because there are several teams in other conferences that could have one loss and still play for the MNC over an undefeated Big East Squad. Each of these “other” teams are led by QBs that will be ranked at least one notch higher than Brohm will be. Everyone in the country will be giving reasons why an undefeated Louisville is not as deserving as a one loss Notre Dame and one loss Miami. If that is the case, the same logic will probably be applied to the Heisman voting (right or wrong).

6. Chad Henne – QB – Jr. – Michigan: Chad Henne could really sneak up on everyone as a Heisman contender. If Michigan runs the table in 2006, thus knocking off Notre Dame and Ohio St. (both on the road), you will see Michigan quickly race up the polls and be considered a front runner for the National Championship Game. At that point you will see a lot of people start to point at the Quarterback play of Henne. If this scenario plays out, I would be honestly shocked if Henne didn’t at least get an invite to New York for the Heisman presentation.

Henne went from throwing 12 INTs in 2004 to only 8 in 2005. If this trend continues and he can keep the total to 8 or less, while maintaing the rest of his numbers, we will all see the QB momentum shift from Quinn and Smith, over to Henne at Michigan.

7. Michael Hart – RB – Jr. – Michigan: I am listing Hart for a lot of the same reasons I am listing Henne. In fact, I am tempted to list Hart slightly above Henne, as he is a RB and not a QB (which means he will probably take a lot less blame for anything that might go wrong, even if the Wolverines are un-defeated).

Again, if Michigan takes down Notre Dame and Ohio State (and if Ohio State can knock out Texas, while Notre Dame knocks off USC) then you will see the entire Michigan team, along with Hart, racing to new heights in the 2006 season.

8. Chris Leak – QB – Sr. – Florida: The Gators will pretty much have to go undefeated in order for Leak to have a chance at the Heisman, although even that is not a guarantee. With pre-season hype being the way it has been (all Texas, Ohio State, Notre Dame, OU, and USC) it is a year that some like Leak could lead his Gators to an SEC Title only to hear how it was a “down year in the SEC and everyone was reloading.”

Leak doesn’t have the momentum going into the season that is needed to win the award, and probably wont be presented with a game that will allow him to go out and prove it (or win it).

9. Jeff Samardzija – WR – Sr. – Notre Dame: It will be hard for Samardzija to steal the trophy out from under teammate Brady Quinn. Most people will be happy voting for Samardzija to win the Biletnikoff while putting Quinn down for the Heisman.

Jeff’s numbers were decent in 2005, but he will have to do even better in 2006 to win the award (1249 yards, 15 TDs). But for this WR, a few more of those spectacular grabs that keep him on the “Top 10 Plays of the Day” lists, will go a lot further for him than any statistical number, and will get him noticed enough to sway some voters his direction.

10. Paul Posluszny – LB – Sr. Penn State: I don’t see this happening, but I have to list at least one defensive player or I simply can’t respect myself or the Heisman (and obviously I want to respect both).

I think Penn State will have a tough season, but it could all play out in a certain way that would have us all wondering why we didn’t have Penn State a little higher at the beginning of the season. In case you didn’t notice, Penn State plays at Notre Dame, at Ohio State, and gets Michigan at Home. Don’t get me started on how big the Jo-Pa Band Wagon will be if Penn State can topple all of these heavy-weights.

If Penn State happens to take care of these teams (as well as the rest of their schedule) I see it being because of a stellar defense that will be led by none other than LB Posluszny.

P.S. Ohio State’s Troy Smith did win the Heisman in 2006 … in case you were curious (or simply couldn’t remember).

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